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West-leading Canucks pay visit to Rangers

by Dave Lozo /
CANUCKS (28-8-6) at RANGERS (25-16-3)


Last 10 --
Vancouver 9-0-1; New York 5-3-2

Season series --
This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. The Rangers haven't beaten the Canucks since Feb. 2, 2004. Bobby Holik scored twice and Mike Dunham made 27 saves in the 4-3 victory. The Canucks' starting goaltender in that game was Dan Cloutier.

Big story --
The Canucks are the NHL's version of Parker Lewis -- they can't lose. Well, they can't lose in regulation. They are 14-0-3 in their last 17 games and lead the NHL with 62 points in 43 games. The Rangers are working through a lot of injuries and trying to get new acquisition Wojtek Wolski integrated quickly.

Team Scope:

Canucks --
It looked like a regulation loss was inevitable when the Islanders grabbed a late 3-2 lead on Tuesday. But Kevin Bieksa tied the score 34 seconds after Blake Comeau put the Isles ahead. The Canucks eventually won in a shootout when Mason Raymond jammed on the breaks at the top of the crease and beat Isles goalie Kevin Poulin during the shootout.

"I tried it a few times in practice," Raymond said. "The two points we got may make a big difference."

Rangers -- They had a three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday at the hands of the Canadiens, 2-1, at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers fell to 10-9-2 at home, where exerting dominance has been a problem the past two seasons. A 36-save effort by All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was diminished when he allowed a soft game-winning goal to Benoit Pouliot early in the third period.

"He probably took the perfect shot there from the corner," Lundqvist said. "It is a shot I want to have back, but a lot of times that is the way I play it. I still have to make the save."

Who's hot -- Vancouver's Ryan Kesler have 5 goals in his last 4 games. … Brandon Dubinsky continues to lead the way for the Rangers. He has 4 goals and 7 assists in his last 9 games.

Injury report -- Vancouver will be without defenseman Sami Salo (Achilles) and forward Rick Rypien (personal). … The Rangers are missing Vinny Prospal (knee), Ryan Callahan (hand), Erik Christensen (knee), Alex Frolov (knee) and Derek Boogaard (shoulder).

Stat pack --
The Canucks are averaging 37.6 shots per game in their last four games. … Henrik Lundqvist has points (all assists) in three straight games, the longest streak for a goaltender since Ed Belfour did it for the Dallas Stars in the 2001-02 season.

Puck drop --
"We have to try to finish. We had some good opportunities that were close but we didn't score. The third period has been our strength this year. I don't think we played poorly, but we couldn't score and they did." -- Rangers coach John Tortorella

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